Have you ever heard the term paint protection film (or PPF) as it relates to an automobile? Paint protection film also referred to as a clear bra or a “wrap”, is a thin layer of flexible material placed over a vehicle’s body panels to protect them from flying rocks or road debris.
This type of protective film can even save your car’s paint from light hail damage or low-speed scrapes that would normally scratch and scar the finish. And while various forms of paint protection film have been around for more than two decades, the technology behind these films has evolved rapidly in recent years.
Paint protection film (PPF) is a transparent layer placed over parts of a vehicle that are vulnerable to chips, rocks and other road debris.
PPF was developed during the Vietnam War by US firm 3M – after it was tasked by the US government to make a film to protect helicopter rotor blades from shrapnel and other debris. Also known as ‘helicopter tape’, PPF is made of urethane. The original tape was not designed to improve the aesthetics of helicopters – in fact, it lent them a dull, cloudy appearance.
Other generic names for PPF:
- Car Scratch Protection Film
- Rock Chip Protection
- Clear Bra
- Clear Mask
- Invisible Shield
- Clear Wrap
- Car Protection Film
Automotive Protective Films go by many different names in the industry these days: Clear Bra, Clear Mask, Invisible Shield, Clear Wrap, Rock Chip Protection, Car Scratch Protective Film, etc. The most common term for car protective films are simply Paint Protection Film – usually just abbreviated to PPF
The science behind PPF
Paint Protection Film is made from a type of plastic ( urethane material ) that has a certain amount of elasticity, allowing it to be curved, stretched, and bend around corners and bends. Perfectly suitable for the body panels of a vehicle.
It is generally applied to painted surfaces of a new or used car to protect the paint from stone chips, bug splatters, and minor abrasions.
The science behind it is that the top layer of the Paint Protection Film is made of an elastomeric polymer that helps the material maintain its shape once it has been stretched or applied. This allows the PPF to Self-Heal when light scratches occur. Typically a heat gun or direct sunlight will remove the scratches.Polyurethane Protective Tapes provide a cost-effective way to help prevent structural damage to helicopter rotor blades with minimal effect on blade track and balance. These tapes can significantly reduce rain and sand erosion damage, Foreign Object Damage (FOD), life cycle costs and helicopter downtime.”
Paint Protection film is around 8 mils thick, compared to the clear coat on your cars paintwork which is about 0.5 Mils. While there several PPF brands available, with varying costs and thicknesses, Xpel and 3M are some of the more popular ones available today and the high-quality ones and that why we use them here at Tintix
How Long Does Paint Protection Film Last?
One of the best things about Paint Protection Film is its longevity. A professionally installed Paint Protection Film (PPF) should last from 5 to 10 years. , This explains why many of these products are covered by a warranty when the installation is conducted by a certified company specializing in PPF installations like TINTIX
That said, much like car wax, ceramic coatings, or any other form of paint protection for that matter, there are a few variables that may impact product longevity. Some of the more common factors that impact a PPF’s longevity are:
- Surface Prep
- Poor Application Etiquette
Paint Protection Film or PPF is a great way of protecting a vehicle from damage caused by small rocks and other road debris. It isn’t intended to enhance the shine or lustre of your vehicle, nor is it very good at keeping the vehicle cleaner. ( Those who are more concerned with this should turn to Ceramic Coatings) If you are worried about physical damage to your paintwork, or you own a very expensive car, then it is worth looking at getting PPF professionally installed on your vehicle.
Looking for competitive prices and expert PPF installers? Make an appointment with Tintix today!